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The Mystery of the Missing Leg


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Two men went hunting in Canada during the depths of winter. One was a local guide who had a good knowledge of the area. All of a sudden they saw a man running towards them. The guide told his client that the man was Joshua Davidson, the son of Karl Davidson, the owner of the land they were on.

When he reached the two hunters he shouted: “My Dad didn’t come back home last night. I’ve been out looking for him. I’ve just found him. I will take you to him.”

After a short journey they found the body of Karl Davidson. He lay spread-eagled in the snow. The area was soaked in blood. This appeared to come from his left-leg that was missing from just below the knee. A tight tourniquet was applied to the leg just above the stump. The men examined the body and discovered that his knife was missing from its sheath on his belt. The tracks suggested that Davidson had dragged himself through the snow to the point where he died.

The three men followed these tracks until they came across a bear trap that was chained to a large tree. The trap contained the rest of Davidson’s left booted leg. On the floor in the snow was a six inch sheath knife.

How had Karl Davidson died?

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There are a few peculiarities in this story, but I can't see a definite answer. The amount of blood around the body is suspicious, given that a tight torniquet had been applied. That's assuming it wasn't applied where the body was found. Was there much blood leading up to the body from the bear trap?

Also, it's odd that this man, as owner of the land, wasn't aware of the location of that particular bear trap. In any case, it would have been noticeable due to the chain holding it to the tree.

There's something in there I'm missing, I'm sure ...

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There are a few peculiarities in this story, but I can't see a definite answer. The amount of blood around the body is suspicious, given that a tight torniquet had been applied. That's assuming it wasn't applied where the body was found. Was there much blood leading up to the body from the bear trap?

Also, it's odd that this man, as owner of the land, wasn't aware of the location of that particular bear trap. In any case, it would have been noticeable due to the chain holding it to the tree.

There's something in there I'm missing, I'm sure ...

John, without asking questions, my take is that he stepped on the trap, [even if it was his, it would have been hidden under the snow-maybe he forgot it, or his son had placed it there] almost surely cutting his leg off, deciding that his leg couldnt be saved, finished cutting it off with his knife, after applying the tourniquet. He then tried to crawl to safety somewhere/somehow, and finally bled to death there. But now you say he was murdered. Well, I would say the same thing, only his son found him shortly after it happened, and because for what ever reason his son had against his father, untied the tourniquet, and let him bleed to death, reapplied the tourniquet, and found the other men. His tracks had to have been at the site, as he said he "had" found him already. I could ask a bunch of questions, but i wont at this point. I have to assume there was no other tracks at the scene, and no other fatal wounds. thanks-smitty

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John, without asking questions, my take is that he stepped on the trap, [even if it was his, it would have been hidden under the snow-maybe he forgot it, or his son had placed it there] almost surely cutting his leg off, deciding that his leg couldnt be saved, finished cutting it off with his knife, after applying the tourniquet. He then tried to crawl to safety somewhere/somehow, and finally bled to death there. But now you say he was murdered. Well, I would say the same thing, only his son found him shortly after it happened, and because for what ever reason his son had against his father, untied the tourniquet, and let him bleed to death, reapplied the tourniquet, and found the other men. His tracks had to have been at the site, as he said he "had" found him already. I could ask a bunch of questions, but i wont at this point. I have to assume there was no other tracks at the scene, and no other fatal wounds. thanks-smitty

You need to concentrate on the knife.

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John, without asking questions, my take is that he stepped on the trap, [even if it was his, it would have been hidden under the snow-maybe he forgot it, or his son had placed it there] almost surely cutting his leg off, deciding that his leg couldnt be saved, finished cutting it off with his knife, after applying the tourniquet. He then tried to crawl to safety somewhere/somehow, and finally bled to death there. But now you say he was murdered. Well, I would say the same thing, only his son found him shortly after it happened, and because for what ever reason his son had against his father, untied the tourniquet, and let him bleed to death, reapplied the tourniquet, and found the other men. His tracks had to have been at the site, as he said he "had" found him already. I could ask a bunch of questions, but i wont at this point. I have to assume there was no other tracks at the scene, and no other fatal wounds. thanks-smitty

You need to concentrate on the knife.

John, were there any other "wounds"? If no other wounds were evident, im going to have to think about this one! thanks-smitty

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Guest Gary Loughran

Son cut off dads leg at spot where he was found. Took the leg to bear trap and sprang it using the knife. Left the knife there to give impression dad cut off his own leg. Crawled to where dad now is and ensuring he was dead, applied touniquet. Then ran off bumping into hunters.

Best I can do at this time of day/month/year.

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Son cut off dads leg at spot where he was found. Took the leg to bear trap and sprang it using the knife. Left the knife there to give impression dad cut off his own leg. Crawled to where dad now is and ensuring he was dead, applied touniquet. Then ran off bumping into hunters.

Best I can do at this time of day/month/year.

It is impossible to cut off your own leg with a knife. It could only be done by an axe. As an axe was not at the scene of the crime it must have been done by someone else. The son hit his father with an axe during a fight. He then tried to make it look like he had cut off his own leg with a knife to release himself from the bear trap. There are stories about this happening in Canada but they are only urban myths. It is a physical impossibility.

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Guest Gary Loughran
Son cut off dads leg at spot where he was found. Took the leg to bear trap and sprang it using the knife. Left the knife there to give impression dad cut off his own leg. Crawled to where dad now is and ensuring he was dead, applied touniquet. Then ran off bumping into hunters.

Best I can do at this time of day/month/year.

It is impossible to cut off your own leg with a knife. It could only be done by an axe. As an axe was not at the scene of the crime it must have been done by someone else. The son hit his father with an axe during a fight. He then tried to make it look like he had cut off his own leg with a knife to release himself from the bear trap. There are stories about this happening in Canada but they are only urban myths. It is a physical impossibility.

My first line should have read "Son cut off dads leg at spot where he was found with an axe" :)

I was pretty close, considering how utterly useless I am at these things. I tend to mostly go for the bread and butter answer in these cases and have trouble with sophisticated plots and minutiae, tending to get bogged down in small irrelevancies.

I'm the type who usually can't figure out a Johnathon Creek or CSI plot until the denouement.

** Now off to consider what my real interest is in Kennedy case!!!

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